Anvil – Legal At Last

Anvil – Legal At Last
AFM Records
Released:14/02/2020
Running Time: 50:31
Review by Dark Juan
4/10

Greetings and salutations from a dark and gloomy Dark Juan Terrace, my dear followers of the Left-Hand Path. As I am staring through the mullioned and open window from my meditation chamber (where there is a disturbing and frankly boring lack of nubile young virgins with innocent eyes and a faith in the False Lord that has just got to be libertined out of them) I am assailed by the smell of petrichor and there appears to be calm before a storm. The clouds are heavy, black and pendulous and all the birds have fucked right off somewhere. My glorious and vicious pack of hellhounds are all asleep on my bed. There’s also no cheese or alcohol in the house and the police are starting to take a dim view of my increasingly desperate excuses for being outside – Apparently telling them you are hunting for virgins is not an acceptable excuse in West Yorkshire, nor is claiming you have been living in the woods for twenty years and have chosen that moment to re-enter civilisation. Apparently, my clothes were too fresh smelling and well-pressed for that one to work…

So, to business. I’m listening to venerable Canadian metal stalwarts Anvil’s latest release, “Legal At Last”. It appears that they have a blueprint and they are not deviating from it one fucking jot. Experimentation is not a word in the Anvil dictionary. What we have here is a heavy metal album that literally has been transported through time from 1984. We have gang backing vocals, big chant-a-long choruses, an utterly derivative production where everything is snare drums to the fore, songs about weed, drinking, surveillance and how great Anvil are. Unfortunately, Anvil aren’t that great, and it has always been a mystery to this hellpriest as to why Anvil have enjoyed such a long career, when they have basically released the same album for the last twenty years. This is so utterly derivative it is sucking the life out of me. When you have other bands like Cloven Hoof (who are of a similar vintage) STILL managing to make traditional metal sound fresh and fun, it makes Anvil almost become a less amusing version of Spinal Tap – a band with steadily decreasing relevance clinging to past glories, helped with an ageing fanbase who all still wear their original 1982 tour shirts and look with disdain at the neophyte metaller who has just discovered the One True Path and malign them cruelly for not liking “the classic stuff”. Well, fuck you, OLD GUYS! This record might have been a good release in 1985, but now it is just tawdry, man.

Opener and title track “Legal At Last” is basically a paean to how great Anvil are. Yes, there is a punchy staggered backing vocal but I have to be honest here, Lips’ voice is not to my taste and this self-aggrandising bullshit got the teenaged Dark Juan’s back up so much that glam rock is still a no-go area because it would only take one phosphor bomb and you could wipe out a room full of primped pussies just from the fumes of the hairspray igniting. Second track “Nabbed In Nebraska” is equally boneheaded and has just insulted my intelligence so much I’ve just ordered a conventional bombing strike on Toronto to revenge myself upon the place for even giving us Anvil in the first place. “Smoking weed ain’t no crime” howls Lips. Clearly it fucking was in Nebraska, you numpty. Also, smoking weed ain’t big or clever. It generally makes you a combination of sleepy, talkative, food obsessed and very bloody annoying. And smelly. Very very fucking smelly. Track three on this apparently never-ending record is “Chemtrails”. Oh dear. Oh dear. Hackneyed and derivative and clearly Anvil have no idea of airspeed friction and contrails. Take it from me, dear friends and acolytes, I worked on aircraft at Manchester Airport and there are NO FUCKING NOZZLES FOR DUMPING CHEMICALS ON CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT!!!! Or I would say that, because I am one of them, you will all immediately howl… Grow the fuck up.

And so it continues – one of the few redeeming qualities of this record is that it does at least have a positive environmental message that is timely in the song “Plastic In Paradise”, but then they also have a song called “Glass House” about surveillance of the world populace, which is an interesting subject but ruined by some truly banal lyrics. “There is no place to hide, nowhere to go inside,” “There is no lock, there is no key, when you lose your privacy,” and the ABSOLUTE winner (and cheerfully grammatically incorrect,) “Me and you, living in a zoo.” Musically, Anvil still come across as a more muscular Twisted Sister with added metal attitude, but everything about the record is one massive fucking cliché, man. Overpowering drums? Check. Massively overproduced guitar sound, multitracked to fuck because there is only one guitar player? Check. Utterly faceless bass robot? Check. Gang vocal? Check. Battering the floor tom a lot? Check. Ham-fisted attempts at political commentary? Fucking check, check and check again. There is simply no fucking excuse, when metal is undergoing a renaissance of sorts currently, to release such dated and unoriginal music, especially when contemporaries are making good albums again.

Metal has moved on from this. At best, this record is a curiosity showing just how stagnant metal can be without new blood to move it along. It has some good riffs, some good song structures but Ozzy Osbourne did all this considerably better on “The Ultimate Sin.”

In 1986.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System wants its intelligence quotient back. 4/10 for one of the most average records I have ever heard from “legends.” Bah. And indeed meh.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Legal At Last (I wish you weren’t.)
02. Nabbed In Nebraska (Don’t take controlled substances there, then!)
03. Chemtrails (Load of old pony, bach.)
04. Gasoline (More to worry about here than fucking chemtrails.)
05. I’m Alive (Clearly the Nebraska State Police were feeling charitable.)
06. Talking To The Wall (Is this while Accept have their Balls To The Wall? That’s a bit worrying.)
07. Glass House (Good concept, utterly shit lyrics.)
08. Plastic In Paradise (Timely and important. No, not taking the piss at this point.)
09. Bottom Line (Of your wife’s colossal pants?)
10. Food For The Vultures (An excellent metaphor for this album.)
11. Said And Done (Not quite yet, but hope springs eternal.)
12. No Time (Bonus Track – I read bonus track as a song that didn’t make the actual choice of songs for the album, but we will bung it on anyway.)

LINE-UP:
Steve “Lips” Kudlow – Vocals/ guitar
Robb Reiner – Drums
Chris Robertson – Bass

LINKS: (2 3 4 – lol) – (This is a terrible joke, even for Dark Juan’s standards – Rick)
www.facebook.com/anvilmetal/
www.twitter.com/AnvilMetal666
www.instagram.com/anvil.metal/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

DeadRisen – DeadRisen

DeadRisen – DeadRisen
AFM Records
Release Date: 13/03/2020
Running Time: 47:06
Review by Tsarina Wilson
9/10

Personally, the first track on DeadRisen’s debut album ‘Risen Death AD’, which is just over one minute long, had me going “hmmm okay, is this the opening theme for a new “Mummy” film soundtrack, and my interest was immediately piqued…then, first track proper ‘Prophecy’ kicks in with the vengeance of a steel toe cap to the shin. Talk about going from one end of a scale to the other.

DeadRisen is the brainchild of guitar maestro Rod Rivera (Rivera/Bomma) and bass wizard Mike LePond (Symphony X) and wow, am I glad they got their heads together because this album blows away any winter cobwebs that may still be lurking.

As well as Rod and Mike the band consists of Will Shaw (Heir Apparent) on vocals, Tony Stehl (Livesay) on keyboards and last, but definitely not least, Dan Prestup (Midnight Eternal) on drums. Rod, who has many years of performing and recording behind him, is the son of a flamenco guitarist and you can hear this in his style of playing, I think it comes to the fore most in ‘The Maker’ which has a Latin/Flamenco feel and a unique sound that gives it a real edge. Mike, who has played on some of the best Heavy Metal albums ever, is so fluent, he sounds like a second guitarist!

DeadRisen are like a metal recipe combining some new, some old, some power, a pinch of slow and twist of crazy, all mixed and baked into a brilliant album The energy that comes through is breath taking but then next track ‘Reach For The Sun’ has you chilling out to a much slower tune that slowly builds to a mammoth climax. These guys definitely want to keep your interest throughout!

The vocals from Shaw have a range that would make most guys eyes water yet the power and clarity he provides makes this whole album stand out. In fact his sound and some of his phrasing reminds me of a mix between Graham Bonnet and Russell Allen, Stehl’s keyboards are a wonderful addition to the mix and with the thunderous and precise drumming of Prestup, these five guys gel in such a way that can only come from many years of experience! “DeadRisen”, the album, has more twists and turns than a roller coaster. Never before have I heard an album that goes from flamenco to metal to thrash all within one track. Some of the tracks are dark and deep, others light and fast. The astonishing guitar riffs and solos from Rivera almost had me holding my breath. It’s okay though as he gives you a rest to draw breath before you turn blue!

One thing that comes across with DeadRisen is not just the amount of experience they possess but it sounds like that they just love making music and enjoying what they do and that is giving us truly epic tunes such as ‘Chains Of Time’ and ‘But You’, fast, furious and with a pitch on the vocals that almost make your ears bleed, in a good way. This is an album that you certainly won’t get bored of listening too, the variety in each track is genius but they seamlessly blend everything like they have been playing together for years and no way does this sound like a debut album.

With Heavy Metal approaching its 50th Birthday, DeadRisen have rightfully taken their place on the icing of the cake and I hope there are many more tracks to come from them. Final track on the album is a sumptuous cover of Metallica’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ and proves the point that you never know what’s coming next! If you are a fan of incredible Progressive Power Metal with a nod to bands like Alcatrazz, Rainbow, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep then hold on to your seat and your beer because this is sublime!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Risen Death AD
02. Prophecy
03. Destiny
04. The Maker
05. Reach for The Sky
06. Visions
07. Chains of Time
08. Fear and Fury
09. Buy You
10. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Metallica Cover)

LINE-UP:
Will Shaw – Vocals
Rod Rivers – Guitars
Mike LePond – Bass
Tony Stahl – Keyboards
Dan Prestup – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/deadrisenband/
www.instagram.com/deadrisenband/
www.open.spotify.com/album/5vMUmOccMKjkhjtIteaDKX
www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKQlZbfT32dfyQ-GlbLwGg

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Brothers of Metal – Emblas Saga

Brothers of Metal – Emblas Saga
AFM Records
Release Date: 10/01/2020
Running Time: 55:06
Review by Tsarina Wilson
10/10 (Would have given it more than 10 if I could)

When I receive a new band to review, I tend to listen to the first two tracks and see if I can get an idea of their look before looking at a photo. I had an idea of Vikings in boats with torches held high, then I looked more into the band and wow I wasn’t far off. One thing you can say about “Emblas Saga” is that it’s non-stop brilliant. From the opening seconds it’s pure enjoyment with superb drumming, awesome guitar riffs and amazing vocals. For someone, like me, who loves things to do with Odin, Vikings and Norse history this is just a perfect album!

Brothers of Metal are definitely not your run of the mill metal band, they are more like adult Nordic story tellers with a hellava lot of metal but also with fun twists added, if you listen carefully! “Emblas Saga” twists and turns like the ‘Powersnake’ of track two. They take you on a journey within the stories and its like being on their Viking ship in rough seas with the constant up and down tempo.

This is the second album from the Scandinavian eight-piece band, who burst through your speakers like a thunderstorm on steroids, their first “Prophecy Of Ragnarök” was released in 2017. “Emblas Saga” is catchy and powerful but doesn’t lose its HEAVY appeal. If you add in the Nordic overtones it is superb

The female vocals of Ylva Eriksson are so clear yet have such power in them. Listen to the tracks ‘Powersnake’ and ‘Weaver Of Fate’ and you will understand what I mean. Joakim Eriksson’s vocals are powerful, raspy and gruff but compliment Ylva’s so well and you can still hear every word. Other members of the band are Mats Nilsson (vocals), Emil Wärmedal (bass), Dawid Grahn (guitars), Pähr Nilsson (guitars), Mikael Fehrm (guitars) and Johan Johansson on drums and they all come together like a Nordic family of story tellers!

With catchy choruses and continuous epic instrumentation this is a joy, for instance, check out the drumming in ‘Ride Of The Valkyries’ which is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album. Once again Ylva’s voice just makes the track but the fast drumming and guitar riffs will have you holding your pint of mead up in the air and singing along (just don’t try air guitaring or drumming at the same time!) Brothers Of Metal pull absolutely no punches and if you look up their videos on YouTube you’ll see that they have a great time making their music. They aren’t your stereotypical metal band and it sets them apart which is so refreshing when so many bands sound the same or very much alike. You get a mix of storytelling, folk, and a massive amount of metal but it’s all 100% brilliant.

When it comes to influences then there is some Manowar, and Amon Amarth (who are more death metal) (Rick here – I would also add Rage, Battle Beast and Beast In Black), however, Brothers of Metal have a much clearer and crisper vocal approach. ‘Hel’ is perfect proof of this with truly gruff vocals yet Ylva once again takes you from power singing the chorus to a solo vocal ending. It’s haunting, eerie, goose bump producing and the hairs on my arms stood on end…and ‘Chain Breaker’ is a thumper from the start and doesn’t give up, the lyrics, once again, taking you take you off to metal storyland, for example, “The leash could not domesticate, the violent beast within, and when the bane of Odin howls, the eternal night begins” They have such enthusiasm and passion for their music and that comes through time and time again.

On Brothers of Metal Facebook page they say “Wimps and posers beware, for true metal is here” (surely a cheeky nod to Manowar) and saying that their little quirks had me laughing in the track ‘Theft Of The Hammer’, which is a belter but also includes the line “Give it back at once you thief or I’ll go tell my dad” and the reference to ‘Hammer Time’ which was a great add, well done to you guys for that one. They may be passionate and have produced an absolutely wonderful album but moments like these prove they aren’t afraid to poke fun at themselves as well!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Brood Of The Trickster
02. Powersnake
03. Hel
04. Chain Breaker
05. Kauaz Dagaz
06. Theft Of The Hammer
07. Weaver Of Fate
08. Njord
09. Emblas Saga
10. Brothers Unite
11. One
12. Ride Of The Valkyries
13. To The Skies And Beyond

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/brothersofmetalofficial/
www.instagram.com/brothersofmetalofficial/
www.spotify.com/artist/0WPCPYm5IDNtQjuJOGNPcy
www.youtube.com/channel/UCjTRADohcFt4lKeVrd0Kuxg

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Elvenking – Reader Of The Runes: Divination

Elvenking – Reader Of The Runes: Divination
AFM Records
Release Date: 30/08/2019
Running Time: 52:34
Review by Mark Pritchard
10/10

Recently, I’ve had a lot going on personally, but for the last few weeks I’ve been listening to Italian Folk Power Metal Band Elvenking’s recent album, “Reader Of The Runes: Divination”. It has certainly kept me busy, and it has been great to grab a few moments to sit back and listen. I’m quite a fan of the genre and these guys, along with this album, is no exception. They use quite a lot of string sounds, and I don’t know what it is, but the inclusion of violins always makes me enjoy songs that little bit more. Even though listening to the album has been really great and relaxing, it isn’t a slouch. Lancs’ drumming, whether it’s nice and calm or fast and intense, along with the beautiful playing of both Aydan and Rafahel on guitars, and Jakob and Lethien on bass and violin respectively, make it a musical masterpiece! Add in to that the amazing vocals of Damna and, for me, you have as close to a perfect album as you’ll ever get, and certainly an awesome listening experience.

With each song, the album grows stronger. Whether it’s the haunting close harmony melodies, or full on power metal riffs, I can’t get enough, and this album will definitely by high up on my play list for a long time to come. The album starts with a track called, ‘Perthro’, which is a calm, ethereal introduction, and actually gives me chills. It sets the tone of the album brilliantly, with clever instrumentation, and wonderful harmonies. I really like the use of instrumentals throughout the album, which maintain the pace and tone of the music, with no drop in enjoyment. The listening journey that Elvenking have created gives you both fast and powerful, as well as some calmer songs, making it both relaxing, but intense in equal measures. For me, “Reader Of The Runes: Divination” is a real standout album.

“Reader Of The Runes: Divination’ is an easy 10 out of 10! I absolutely love this album and I can’t stop listening to it! Every track is a standout song, but there’s one I feel stands above the others, and that is the second track, ‘Heathen Divine’. The acoustic guitar introduction slowly moves into the main song, creating a real intensity that I really like. It has been a great pleasure having the chance to review this album and has been a welcome break from the stresses and strains of the day-to-day grind. A highly recommended choice for anyone liking their power metal with plenty of folk influence!

TRACKLISTING:

01. Perthro
02. Heathen Divine
03. Divination
04. Silverseal
05. The Misfortune Of Virtue
06. Eternal Eleanor
07. Diamonds In The Night
08. Under The Sign Of A Black Star
09. Malefica Doctrine
10. Sic Semper Tyrannis
11. Warden Of The Bane
12. Reader Of The Runes – Book I

LINKS:

www.elvenking.net/
www.facebook.com/pg/elvenking.official/
www.instagram.com/elvenking.official/
www.youtube.com/user/ElvenkingOfficial

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Mark Pritchard and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Lordi – RecorDead Live; Sextourcism In Z7 (2CD)

Recordead Live - Sextourcism In Z7 Cover

Lordi – RecorDead Live; Sextourcism In Z7 (2CD)
AFM Records
Release Date: 26/07/2019
Running Time: 90:33
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
8/10

BEER! MORE BEER! Mrs. Dark Juan is shirking her duties and telling me I am a lazy fat bastard for demanding my beer being brought to me. Now, she’s undoubtedly correct on all three counts, for I freely admit I’m a lazy fat bastard but nevertheless she should not address the Groove Ipssissimus, the Love Commando and the head of the clergy in that fashion. It’s just…. unsympathetic! Especially when I am creating literary genius for your edification, dear acolytes!

Good evening, I am Dark Juan and I have taken time out from my extremely busy schedule of defiling Christian women, virgins and religious institutions to share with you important matters of metal. France is Catholic, you see. I have an incredibly large task ahead of me to subvert these people. Still, one lady at a time, eh? My neighbour Helene (age 74) made the mistake of asking what I was listening to, the other day. She then had to weather a one hour lecture on just why Lawnmower Deth are amazing in halting and incorrect French. Cobwoman Of Deth Meets Mr. Smellymop took some explaining. Funnily enough, she’s taken to crossing the road and running to the nearest house whenever I am outdoors at the same time as her. I was hoping to discuss the neo-classical connotations of symphonic black metal with her at some point. Oh well. I’m sure she will be receptive to a conversation in about three months.

In other news, while I waffle aimlessly in a desperate attempt to fill out what is now traditionally not a short review, I’m listening to the Finnish nutters called Lordi. Yes, I’m listening to “RecorDead Live; Sextourcism in Z7”. It’s no secret that I am partial to any band that has an egregious image, and Lordi have that in spades. They also have some fucking killer songs – ‘Blood Red Sandman’ should be an enduring metal classic. It was also the song and video that introduced Lordi to an agog young neophyte back in Manchester many moons ago and launched a 25 year love affair with them. AND THEY ALSO WON EUROVISION! Truly, a band to be revered in Dark Juan’s world, then!

The problem is, though, the fact that I don’t really like live albums, because I consider them to be inferior versions of the proper songs. In order to properly appreciate live versions of songs, you have to be there, basking in the atmosphere, being hot, sweaty and pressed tightly against a total stranger… However, having got that minor rant out of the way, we have to establish whether this album is worth expending wonga on, don’t we? From a quantity point of view Lordi have it licked (hurgh hurgh) as there are a throbbingly massive 20 songs on offer here.

Lordi are a heavy metal band in the classic mould – lots of melody and power chords. This is a good thing because they sound like they belong in the Shot In The Dark Ozzy era 1980’s, when I was growing up and first getting into metal, and therefore they immediately provoke memories of good times and horrific hangovers off Thunderbird wine. Also, Lordi have some fucking killer tunes. Some absolute belters! And they also have a similar childish propensity, as I do, for pithy and silly wordplay. Hence they open the show with Sexorcism. A very silly song, but perfectly enjoyable and Mr. Lordi’s voice is a bit raw to start with but he soon warms up and he’s bang on form by the time he gets to ‘Your Tongue’s Got The Cat’. Mr. Amen however is masterful on the guitar, being virtually note perfect throughout the concert. Mr. Ox on bass is also excellent as is Mr. Mana on drums. I also enjoyed Ms. Hella on the keys – I was a big BIG fan of Awa (such long, elegant fingers crawling slowly down my spine and along my hips to my……. STOP THAT!!!!) and was devastated when she left Lordi. But Ms. Hella has awoken previously dormant feelings in …….Enough. The flock don’t need to know that, Dark Juan, you bloody pervert.

The album mix is also a bit patchy when it first gets going, as if the sound engineer has suddenly remembered he has a job to do and puts down his beer in a hurry. Again it settles down after a couple of tracks and we achieve a happy, well balanced sound which is uncommonly clear for a live recording. There is the odd bum note and the backing vocals also take a song or two to warm up but this is part and parcel of live performance.

There’s every one of my favourite Lordi songs on here: ‘Would You Love A Monsterman?’, ‘Blood Red Sandman’, ‘The Devil Is A Loser’, ‘Who’s Your Daddy?’ and of course the finale of the whole shebang is ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’, an absolute monster of a track and their legendary Eurovision winning song. All the songs on the record (and indeed by Lordi in general) are designed specifically to be chant along fun. They have massive, MASSIVE choruses and are just good old metal singalong fodder. The thing is, Lordi are also a VISUAL medium and I can’t help but think we are missing an essential part of the full experience with just a record, so there’s kind of a gap in my enjoyment of it. It’s hard to elucidate, but the music requires you to be able to SEE Mr. Lordi and the rest of the band waving their arms, wings and other as yet unnamed limbs about and generally being awesome. They evince the vaudeville joy and sense of fun that is often missing from metal nowadays. It’s schlocky, messy and involves a fuckton of dressing up, and who the fuck doesn’t love that sort of thing?

I love Lordi. I love bands that have theatre and performance value. I love theatricality. This is why I think Ghost are amazing and fuck the haters. I love Lordi’s live album but it isn’t top marks because there’s no visual component. My god, I have almost written a competent review.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is utterly appalled with itself for daring to actually write something that might actually have some useful value and has gone off to sulk in the corner, but awards 8/10 for a fine live album.

Note: There are Blu-Ray/DVD versions but we only received the CD version to review!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sexorcism
02. Would You Love A Monsterman?
03. Missing Miss Charlene’s House Of Ghosts
04. Your Tongue’s Got The Cat
05. Heaven Sent Hell On Earth
06. Mr. Killjoy
07. Rock the Hell Outta You
08. Blood Red Sandman
09. It Snows In Hell
10. She’s A Demon
11. Slashion Model Girls
12. Naked In My Cellar
13. Rock Police
14. Hug You Hardcore
15. Evilyn
16. The Riff
17. Nailed By The Hammer Of Frankenstein
18. Who’s Your Daddy?
19. Devil Is A Loser
20. Hard Rock Hallelujah

LINE-UP:
Mr. Lordi – vocals
Mr. Amen – guitar
Mr. Ox – bass
Mr. Mana – drums
Ms. Hella – keyboards

LINKS:
http://www.lordi.fi/
https://www.facebook.com/LordiOfficial/

https://www.instagram.com/lordiofficial/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn5gK-xJtOxYHzubFazyCKQ

 

Live Shot

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

 

Stahlmann – Kinder Der Sehnsucht

Kinder Der Sehnsucht Cover

Stahlmann – Kinder Der Sehnsucht
AFM Records
Release Date: 22/03/2019
Running Time: 40:16
Review by Dark Juan
7/10

Ich bin ein grosse Neue Deutsche Harte-fan…

Good afternoon, my loyal followers of the left hand path, defilers of all things holy and debauchers of all nubile womanhood; Unless you are a lady, then attractive manhood; Or vice versa; Or whatever the hell you want, really. I, the mighty, puissant and above all liberal Dark Juan cares not which set of genitals you prefer to play with, as long as you’re playing with some genitals (on human beings. Other genitals are just a bit wrong, chaps and chapesses. Of legal age and above all consenting! I will rain down great vengeance and considerable physical harm upon you if you are an abuser of a non-consenting person…) then you are following my gospel and I am content. You’ll be pleased to know that I am going to share my thoughts with you, dear children of the night. Again. You poor dears…

Stahlmann, you will be completely unsurprised to learn, are German. Their name means Steel Man. Yes, I know I’m insulting your intelligence, you there waving your hands about and going crimson faced with self-righteous rage. I don’t fucking care so do shut up. However, while you might be fluent in German and bullshit for all I’m aware, you ugly red source of all evil, other people reading this shit that passes for professionalism might not know German and have just been edified and educated, so wind your neck in. Twat!

Yes, sorry. There’s always one. Stahlmann are from Germany and play Neue Deutsche Harte, so fans of OOMPH!, Megaherz and Eisbrecher will immediately be soiling their bondage pants and lederhosen with sex wee glee. I know I have. This is why I have leather sofas. Stahlmann sound like a very enjoyable mix of these luminaries and Rammstein. You can’t listen to NDH without thinking of Rammstein. Mainly because most NDH bands closely follow the Rammstein model – militaristic drumming, at marching pace (‘Du Hast’ and their new single ‘Radio’ are perfect to illustrate my point) ultra precise, weapons grade guitar work, a thunderous yet utterly clean bass sound, a gruff, gut churning vocal in German and shimmering, elusive keyboard work. In short, if you like Neue Deutsche Harte, you’re going to fucking love this. If you don’t like NDH, you probably won’t and should probably go back to hiding behind your Bullet For My Valentine records. Fuck BMFV.

Stahlmann’s sound on this record, entitled Kinder Der Sehnsucht (Children Of Longing) is ultra precise NDH, leaning towards the poppier end of the spectrum like OOMPH! do. This however is not a bad thing as it makes for more melody than you normally get. More melody and less chugging. NDH has lots of chugging normally, which isn’t so bad, but it does make for a somewhat samey musical experience. Less chugging allows the music to breathe and there are some exquisite touches of keyboards, or an eighties reminiscent melody or a little but utterly wonderful bass riff to enjoy, hidden away amongst the violence. Mart’s vocals are reminiscent of OOMPH!’s Dero Goi at times, but conjoined in a sinuous, moist and disturbingly sexual fashion with Rammstein’s Till Lindemann’s singular deep throated rasp. I would come up with a disgusting fornicatory metaphor for this, but let’s face it, Till’s got me licked for that already. Combine this with the German language vocal and lyrics, and there are panties falling off teenage goth girls everywhere. I mean everywhere. If you see a quirkily dressed (in black lace and leather or latex from head to foot) young lady with her iPod (also black) walking down the road and suddenly stumble with her Hello Kitty knickers having found their way to her ankles, I GUARANTEE you she is listening to Stahlmann. You might think I am a fan, judging by this. You might be right. Kinder Der Sehnsucht is a good, solid record. It is unexceptional insofar as it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre but it is fun, heavy and well written and produced and I love NDH music anyway. And they look like a nice bunch of boys who are kind to their mothers, as well. They write good songs. Granted, I can only understand about one word in ten of the lyrical content, but they are delivered with conviction. My favourite tunes on the record are ‘Wahrheit Oder Pflicht’ which is an absolute slammer of a tune and most danceable indeed (to the absolute and shocked horror of Mrs. Dark Juan and our houseguest, the estimable and delightful Mrs. Leigh Jack, who were unfortunate enough to come across me doing the kind of spasmodic jerking that passes for dancing for me. They apparently were wondering what the noise was upstairs… Yes, I have friends. Sometimes they even visit…) and the paean to friendship that is ‘Die Besten’, which is that rare thing – metal reinforcing a positive message that doesn’t involve booze or drugs. At least in the first instance. In fact upon repeated listening to “Kinder Der Sehnsucht”, and liberal use of Google Translate, I have discovered an underlying theme to the record. That being the alienation and withdrawal of people back into themselves, despite having more information and more ways to communicate than ever before. Just call me Dark Holmes. Or Sherlock Juan. Anyway, this is an important message that needed to be shared and appreciated so I award bonus marks for social intelligence. Music with a message is always more groovy than music for music’s sake.

LISTEN TO STAHLMANN WHEN YOU’RE GETTING READY TO GO OUT AND GO AND GET DRUNK WITH YOUR MATES!

A finer message there surely cannot be. I’m following it to the letter and I’m going to ruin the evening of the entire town of Guemene-Sur-Scorff because someone has foolishly put on a karaoke evening at Bistrot De Louisa and they have It’s Been A While by Staind. Muahahahahahahahahahaha! Poor Guemene.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das Patentierte Dunkle Juan-Blut-Splat-Bewertungssystem – If this is what it is in accurate German, then the English equivalent is being retired. Everything sounds better in German!) has been royally entertained by Stahlmann and awards them 7/10 for a fine, but ultimately not genre-busting record. It is well worth sacrificing some beer tokens for though!

TRACKLISTING:
01 Vom Himmel Veloren (Lost From The Sky or possibly Heaven. Google Translate isn’t clear on this and neither am I. I’m drunk, you see.)
02 Wahrheit Oder Pflicht (Truth Or Dare. I’ve seen pictures of these guys. I’ll take truth, please. I mean if you like boys, knock yourself out, though!)
03 Die Besten (All about your mates. Treasure them. Seriously.)
04 Neub Kebeb Fallt (Translate is INSISTENT that this song is about a dropped kebab. As tragic as this is, I don’t think it’s right. I hope the band corrects me and it is, in which case this is the best song ever!)
05 Kinder Der Sehnsucht (Children Of Longing)
06 Schliess Deine Augen (Close Your Eyes. Not fucking likely while you’re nearby, mate….)
07 Horst Du Wie Mein Herz Schlagt? (Do You Hear My Heart Beating? Curious question to ask a stranger…)
08 Regen (Rain. These chaps have obviously been to Manchester.)
09 Wen Du Gehst (When You Go) featuring the talents of Blue May Rose.
10 Sinnlich (Sensual. Filthy grooves. I am kind of glad I don’t understand German at this point…)
11 Die Besten AMIworx RMX. (I cannot fucking stand remixes. They are a lazy way of retreading tunes to extract more money from the punter. They are cynical horrible things. Normally with a shitty awful hip hop beat stuck over exactly the same tune and are almost invariably worse than the original song. That said, this one is tolerable. There are two benchmarks of remix quality and they are the dub remix of Scumgrief by Fear Factory which can tear you a new arsehole, and the remix of More Human Than Human by Rob Zombie which is dirtier than an entire convent of young probationer nuns I have personally repeatedly defiled and turned into my Harem of Baphomet. This song scores highly against that benchmark.)

STAHLMANN IST:
MART: Vocals, Programming
EUGENE: Bass
MARIO: Guitar
TACKI: Drums

LINKS:
https://www.stahlmannband.de
https://www.facebook.com/Stahlmann
https://www.instagram.com/stahlmann_official/

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Evergrey – The Atlantic

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Evergrey – The Atlantic
AFM Records
Release Date: 25/01/2019
Running Time: 54:07
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
10/10

There are certain bands, that when they pop up on the “reviews to do” list, I always try to get my name against first and Evergrey are one of those bands! Having been a fan since I purchased a copy of their 2008 album “Torn” on a whim, and also having reviewed their 2016 album “The Storm Within” I thought it was only right that I reviewed their latest offering “The Atlantic.”

Evergrey are a Swedish Progressive Metal band from Gothenburg, formed in 1995, and led by frontman and songwriter, Tom S Englund, they have always been synonymous with “technically and compositionally outstanding standards, combined with lyrics and messages which go way beyond rock ‘n’ roll prose.”

Progressive Metal is not one of my preferred genres, but there are a few bands that stand out in the field, and, for me, Evergrey have always been one of the best. With this new album, the band have manifested their reputation as one of the most unusual and innovative progressive metal acts….worldwide!

This album also sees them complete their “Hymns For The Broken” trilogy, which began life with the launch of Part 1 back in 2014, and is all about the adventure of ‘life’.
As on Hymns For The Broken and it’s 2016 successor The Storm Within, the new album is about events and experiences in our lives,” explains Englund, “it’s about relationships, beauty and darkness, about fortune and grief, about love, hate, despair, joy and everything connected with it. Life is like a journey across the ocean, on the way to distant shores.

So, it was rather apt then, to call the album “The Atlantic”, the second largest ocean on the planet, and with it, they take their listeners on a tempestuous voyage across the rough seas, something that only prog metal can really do!

The expressive cover art work was designed by Greek artist Giannis Nakos, who is renowned for his work for Oceans of Slumber and Hades Rising, among others. The album was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen and was produced by Tom, himself, along with drummer Jonas Ekdahl.

The lyrics of Everygrey songs have always been of the darker side, as has the band’s imagery, and this album is no different, with the words being delivered with deep feeling and emotion from the talented voice of Tom. I have always been a fan of Tom’s voice and he did not disappoint on this album. He just seems to get better and better.

There are ten tracks in total and, although together they make for a superb album, each one can stand alone with “amazing power, depth and exciting detail.” There are no bad songs here and I don’t think Mr Englund could write an awful track even if he tried.

The first track on the album is ‘A Silent Arc’ and is probably one of the fiercest and toughest tracks Evergrey have ever recorded. Says their publicity notes, it’s “brutal in a certain kind of Evergrey way!” But, this is not the only function of this track. While it also sets the whole lyrical and musical content of the album, it is also the first single release. Quite a cute move to place it number one in the track list!

There will also be videos to accompany the atmospherically heavy ‘Weightless’, my favourite track on the album, and the anthemic and melancholic ‘All I Have’, two highlights from the thoroughly diverse and haunting album. Also, check out track number two ‘A Secret Atlantis’. Those opening riffs are just magnificent.

The band’s Facebook page cites their influences as Kiss, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Korn and The Deftones, and to be honest I can’t hear any of those bands in Evergrey’s music. For me, these guys produce music that is totally unique to them. They have the riffs and the guitars, the drums and the vocals that bands of all genres of metal possess, but the way it is all put together just sets them miles apart from the rest. This is music you could break up and make up to. It’s music that makes you feel emotions that you might not necessarily want to feel. It’s music that gets you right in the stomach and tears at your heartstrings! And there are not many bands out there who can do that!

If you have not heard Evergrey’s music before….where the hell have you been for the past twenty years?? And, more importantly, GO and BUY this album! In fact go and buy them all. They are definitely a band you need to hear.

I hope these guys continue to make lots more of their fantastic music and next time they are in London (question for you there Tom??!) I will definitely be at the front!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Silent Arc
02. Weightless
03. All I Have
04. A Secret Atlantis
05. The Tidal
06. End Of Silence
07. Currents
08. Departure
09. The Beacon
10. This Ocean

LINKS:
http://www.evergrey.net/
https://www.facebook.com/Evergrey/

https://www.instagram.com/evergreyofficial/

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Dynazty – Firesign

Firesign Cover

Dynazty – Firesign
Label: AFM Records
Release Date: 28/09/2018
Running time: 49:28
Review by Lotty Whittingham
8/10

It’s no secret that Sweden is one of the best breeding grounds for Metal and Rock bands, particularly when it comes to Hard Rock, and Dynazty are one of the recent bands to make it out onto the airwaves and into the hearts of Hard Rock fans on a global scale. Could they join the list of bands along with the likes of Eclipse and H.E.A.T? Well, if their latest album “Firesign” is anything to go by then most certainly!

One of the things “Firesign” does is ensures Dynazty’s fierce reputation for strong vocals, finger blistering riffs and dominant melodies. The bold sounds of the 80’s and 90’s are coming back to fruition and bands like Dynazty are here to ensure this sound will never die.

If you are not familiar with Dynazty, the sounds from the latest release could seem a little mediocre at first, especially with a name like “Firesign” when you would expect a lot more heat and passion. But, when you hear the story behind what they were going for, it becomes clear. They were aiming for a stripped-down version of their previous material and that is what they have given us. After finding that out it’s easier to relax and enjoy what’s playing.

“Firesign” kicks off with the gallant singles ‘Breathe With Me’ and ‘The Grey’. If Helloween and The Scorpions had concocted a track together then ‘Breath With Me’ would be it. It gets things moving with its empowering melody, consisting of brilliant riffs, great vocals and emphasising orchestral elements. ‘The Grey’ is a modern classic with its brilliant melody and chorus. Whatever they do to make their melodies memorable for days on end will remain a mystery but let’s hope they continue to use that magic.

The band showcase clear talent and energy throughout the album. They deliver an excellent portfolio of songs from the pumping ‘In The Arms Of A Devil’ to the sweeping beats of ‘Follow Me’.

The bouncy beginning riff in ‘Ascension’ provides a strong hint of the Sabaton hit ‘Gott Mit Uns’, so it’s only logical to imagine glossy hair swishing back and forth to the beat. The beat slows down to allow us to enjoy the strong melody right through to the punchy chorus. This track is interesting in terms of how many different elements of the song there are. Sometimes adding lots of these can either backfire or work highly in the band’s favour. In Ascension’s case it works.

The title track provides a sense of empowerment and hope, particularly when things are looking bleak across the board. The sweeping beat provides an excellent backing for the orchestral elements, powerful vocals and excellent riffs. It could be interpreted that the verses represent the negativity going on in the world and the chorus is the phoenix rising from the ashes, representing hope. But, the only people who would know that for sure are the band themselves.

The intro to ‘Follow Me’ provides strong reminiscence of the sounds of the 80’s. The catchy melody, huge vocals and mighty riffs reinforce this. This will be a song that will go down well at live shows with its punchy verses and choruses.

It ends on a rather grand note with ‘Starfall’. This provides a great climax, yet leaves the listener wanting more. “Firesign” is a grower, the more times you listen to it the more you like it!

This is a band who are going places and I hope they continue to do so!

Tracklist:
1. Breathe with Me
2. The Grey
3. In the Arms of a Devil
4. My Darkest Hour
5. Ascension
6. Firesign
7. Closing Doors
8. Follow Me
9. Let Me Dream Forever
10. Starfall
11. The Light Inside the Tunnel

Links:
http://www.dynazty.com/
https://www.facebook.com/dynaztyband/

https://www.youtube.com/user/DynaztyOfficial

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Brothers of Metal – Prophecy Of Ragnarök

Prophecy Of Ragnarök Cover

Brothers of Metal – Prophecy Of Ragnarök
Label: AFM Records
Release Date: 16/11/2018
Running time: 51:23
Review by Lotty Whittingham
10/10

It was easy to regard them as Sweden’s best kept secret until now. Due to their recent signing to AFM Records, Brothers of Metal have re-released their mighty debut “Prophecy of Ragnarök”, potential warriors eager to hear the stories of their quest, and this album is a worthy quest of strength, power and determination.

It’s very rare nowadays to find an album that displays great anthems from start to finish but Brothers of Metal achieves this mighty feat. For any fans of Sabaton, Manowar and Powerwolf, I highly recommend this album to you, and after one listen, you will want to ride into battle with them.

The album doesn’t beat around the bush. It goes straight into battle with the song ‘The Death Of Light God’. The rapid drum beats and guitar riffs will make anyone want to get up, don their battle garments and charge. It gives you the first taste of what the band can give the listeners. It also gives a first taste of the vocal power between the singers. Ilva Eriksson’s vocal range covers a wide spectrum from powerful to sensitive, providing the perfect contrast to Joakim Lindbäck Eriksson’s roaring and rough vocals. Last but not least, there is Mats Nilsson, who provides the tongue of the gods. A great vocal technique that works in favour of these warriors.

It’s a given cliché to say there is something for everyone, yet that statement applies to this album. There is an eclectic selection of powerful songs that could all be anthems in their own right. From the sweeping ballad ‘Yggrasil’ to the merry shouts of ‘The Mead Song’, there is something to suit every mood under the sun. Noted, another cliché but it’s true!

‘Son Of Odin’ is as mighty as the track name itself. It starts off with a stately roar of thunder and the rest is just as grand. It’s a great song to go into battle with. The lyrical content is also fantastic, getting the balance of posing a threat and a light comic side spot on. The battle lyrics include “I am the son Odin, I bring lightning from the sky” and “Fire, blood and magic leaves me with a thirst”. The comical lyrics include “Loki is my brother, he has no sex appeal” and “I want to ride to battle, but now I’ve lost my horse.” Given this description, this mighty song is easily a favourite on the album.

No album is usually complete without a slow track and ‘Yggrasil’ provides the perfect calming down before heading into battle again. It’s a beautiful ballad that will bring Vikings and shieldmaidens together for some much-needed intimacy and contains a combination of powerful voices.

Fans of Viking Metal and all other sub genres alike now have a new party song, titled ‘The Mead Song’ and it will encourage non-stop partying and letting down of hair. Everything from the merry beats to the shouting chants screaming “MEAD” and “ANOTHER” will go down well with fans and new listeners alike. Theoretically, this song will go down a treat with those experiencing it live.

It ends on a triumphant note with the song ‘We Believe In Metal’. This song is a grand climax to the album, yet it still leaves you wanting more. With this re-release, it’s evident that 2019 will be the year Brothers Of Metal invade the airwaves and venues alike to spread their powerful message.

AXE TIME, SWORD TIME are the battle cries everyone will be hearing and chanting before you know it.

Tracklist:
1. The Death Of The God Of Light
2. Son Of Odin
3. Prophecy Of Ragnarök
4. Defenders Of Valhalla
5. Concerning Norns
6. Yggdrasil
7. Tyr
8. Siblings Of Metal
9. Gods Of War
10. Freya
11. The Mead Song
12. Sleipnir
13. Fire Blood And Steel
14. We Believe In Metal

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/brothersofmetalofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/brothersofmetalofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjTRADohcFt4lKeVrd0Kuxg

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Gama Bomb – Speed Between The Lines

 

Speed Between The Lines Cover

Gama Bomb – Speed Between the Lines
AFM Records
Release date: 12/10/2018
Running time: 35.07
Review by: Alun Jones
8/10

Hello and welcome to Thrash School. For todays lesson, you will need:

• Skin tight jeans (preferably with ripped knees)
• Faded Acid Reign t-shirt
• Studded leather belt and 1x studded leather wrist band
• White hi-top leather Converse
• Black leather jacket (denim vest over jacket optional)
• Baseball cap with “NOT” written under the peak

Because today we will be listening to the new album by Gama Bomb, entitled “Speed Between the Lines”.

These merry metallers have an uncanny ability to rewind the cassette of time to a simpler age. It’s like grunge never happened. Instead, we get twelve face-lacerating tunes that rush by in uncompromising fashion. This is thrash metal, kids, buckle up for the ride.

Eighties thrash was often pre-occupied with party bum-out vibes like nuclear destruction. Apparently, it’s a post-Cold War world though, so these boys don’t wallow in misery for too long. Not that they don’t have a social conscience: witness the admirable stab at the current political climate in “Alt Reich”.

But they’re just as happy dedicating an ode to Kurt Russell, which is perfectly justified in my opinion. Kurt is, of course, an icon of twentieth century popular culture. Not convinced? Go watch The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China and you can thank me later.

Back to the music. Although diversity isn’t Gama Bomb’s strong point – Master of Puppets this ain’t – the listener is rewarded with a dozen tracks that speed by relentlessly. The musicianship is amazing, with blitzkrieg lead guitar all over the place.

The occasional change of pace would add some additional colour, but you can’t fault the commitment and enthusiasm of this band. This album is the full package with cool themes and some of the best song titles I’ve heard in a long time (666teen? Give them an award NOW). The music is intense and exciting in equal measure, bringing to mind classic Overkill, Anthrax and Nuclear Assault.

So dig out your old Variflex skateboard and ask your big brother’s mate to buy you a two litre bottle of cider from the Co-op. With Gama Bomb you can party like it’s 1987. This history lesson is over.

Track listing:
1. Give Me Leather
2. A Hanging
3. 666teen
4. Bring Out the Monster
5. R.I.P. U
6. Motorgeist
7. Alt-Reich
8. Stay Rotten
9. We R Going 2 Eat U
10. Kurt Russell
11. World Gone to Hell
12. Faceblaster

Social Media:
http://www.gamabomb.net
http://www.facebook.com/gamabomb
dh@afm-records.de

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.